Karate College 2004, standing next to Bill D'Urso, seated, Michael DePasquale Jr and Joe Hess. You can see how excited I am to be with them.
I had read about Michael DePasquale Jr. the Jujitsu Master in all sorts of martial arts magazine's; Karate International, Black Belt Magazine, Inside Karate and others, so I was very excited about the opportunity to train with him at Dr. Beasley's Karate College.
Michael DePasquale Jr. is the son of Michael DePasquale Sr., a great Jujitsu master who is considered the father of American Jujitsu.
I can't describe how excited I felt to actually be on the matt with him, I could hardly wait for the class to begin. What can I say, I was not disappointed. For me celebrities are not movie stars or media people, but people that have made a difference with their lives, teachers, people that lead by example. Michael DePasquale Jr. is such a person.
DePasquale moves with the grace of a master, his speed and finesse of execution are most impressive. His range of techniques and their applicability to the street greatly added to my knowledge.
I enjoyed his defenses against punches, his effective use of the "dead hand", his O uchi garei Judo take-down and his arm lock finishing holds. I found all his techniques practical and easy to apply.
Getting to know Michael DePasquale Jr. was no less of a thrill than his class. He is a genuinely kind person, easy to befriend and fun to be around.
When I saw him in the dining room with friends and fellow instructors Bill D'Urso and Joe Hess I asked if I could take a photo of them. He answered that not only could I take a photo, but I should join them in the photo and join them for dinner. What an honor. Here I was, just a participant, a new-comer, and not only was he willing for me to disrupt their lunch but invited me to join them. My cup overfloweth!
I had the privilege of training with him several more times. Each time he greeted me as an old, valued friend, at each farewell he repeated, "If There is ever anything I can do for you, just let me know." Michael DePasquale Jr. is a true gentleman and an outstanding example of what a martial artist should be.
There was one more thing that I shall never forget; his respect for his father. Once I saw him walking down the stairs and I asked him about his old tattered black belt, he said, "It is my father's".
At the time his dad was quite ill, he has since passed on, and Michael DePasquale Jr. was visibly concerned. At every possibly opportunity he made reference to his father, always showing the utmost respect. His humble behavior, his concern for all of us, his care and respect for his father, deeply moved me.
Did I mention he also does a darn good Elvis imitation?
I was deeply saddened to hear the news that Michael DePasquale Jr. passed away on May 14, 2023, from heart complications. I knew he was not well, but I did not realize how critical his situation was. Over the years we kept in touch, and he expressed pride in my accomplishments, which meant a great deal to me. He was my senior in martial arts, one of my instructors and yet humble enough to rejoice in the accomplishments of another. His humility impressed me. What impressed me most about him were his family values. He not only spoke with reverence about his father and proudly carried on his tradition, but he honored and treasured his mother. You do not see many martial arts grand masters posting photos of themselves out for lunch or dinner with their elderly mother, but Michael DePasquale did, often. This touched me deeply. I did not see photos of his many awards or trophies, but of his little old mother. Is there anything greater one can say?
Michael DePasquale Jr. fulfilled the commandment of Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. He is a true role model for all of us. May his memory continue to be a blessing. He will be greatly missed.